DEMYSTIFYING CRYPTOCURRENCY

Introduction

From time immemorial, Currencies have always been part of our lives. At some point, it was Trade by Barter, where goods and services were exchanged, e.g you have 5 yams and you need 5 potatoes, you exchange your yams for potatoes. This system wasn't sustainable because of its inherent flaws e.g not all goods can be divided, people's needs must coincide for there to be an exchange, there was no way to value these goods e.t.c.
From the trade by barter system, we moved to different eras before getting to modern era currencies like paper currency, credit cards and digital wallets. These currencies are controlled and regulated by Government and Banks; It's not without its own limitations.

LIMITATIONS

There are issues like
Limit to the amount you can withdraw,
Technical issues from bank that makes accessing your money temporarily unavailable,
User’s account been hacked e.t.c
The effect of inflation on your savings e.t.c

These limitations have influenced the emergence of Cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency basically did away with the requirement of 3rd parties (Banks, Government, Organization e.t.c) in transactions.
If Mr Sule wants to sell his car to Mrs Bianca and she agrees to buy the car for a certain amount, Mrs Bianca will then proceed to sending the agreed sum through her bank to Mr A and his own bank will notify him of Mrs Bianca's payment. The bank is the 3rd party in this transaction.
A number of things could go wrong with this money transfer (payment).
Technical issues from the bank: Their central system could be down, meaning Mr B can't make payment which could affect the car transaction or Mr A can't confirm receipt of the payment because of technical issues from the bank's central system.
The issue could also be that Mrs B has exceeded her daily transaction limit and won't be able to make that transfer.
Her account could have been hacked
The bank will deduct transfer rates e.t.c

All these shortcomings beg the question, why do we need to trust a 3rd party to swap funds between two parties that have agreed on all the terms of a transaction?
Why can't these individuals make this payment to each other without the help of a 3rd party?
This was the concept behind Bitcoin Cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin was designed to create a mechanism where Mrs Bianca can pay Mr Sule directly without the help of a 3rd party.
This was the premise in which this currency came to be; it's a digital currency that takes a third party out of a transaction.

The process or manner in which I can give money in person to the woman/man beside me without anyone knowing or helping me pass the money; cryptocurrency is simply the online version of this same process. It’s like a vending machine where you can pay and receive a product without interacting with any human.

vending machine

A Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services. Cryptocurrency uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions.
The 'Crypto' in Cryptocurrency is Cryptography. Cryptography is a method of using encryption and decryption to secure communication in the presence of 3rd parties with ill intent.

Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. It works by using a technology called Blockchain.
This technology was used to create this currency.

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

Blockchain technology is basically blocks of information that are linked together via a digital chain. This technology is a new type of technology that has digitized human trust; this is basically admitting that humans lie, change their minds and twist facts, but with this technology, once you impute an information on it, the information cannot be tampered with or changed.
It's a way of removing human error from transactions.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency that was created using the Blockchain technology in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
The Blockchain is like a big, excel spreadsheet everyone can see, but once a record has been put there, it cannot be changed. You cannot deny receiving or transferring it.

This is the way the Bitcoin Blockchain works:
If Ayo pays Tope 1 bitcoin, the whole Bitcoin Blockchain will declare that a particular address sends a certain amount of coin to this address and it'll be stamped forever.
There are no limits to the funds that can be transferred. If you have 10 coins, you can transfer all the coins unlike modern banking with transaction limits.
There is no central point of failure. Like an Atm, mobile App and USSD being down at once.
It's one of the traceable, data records we have ever had. It removes Government and Banks as third parties, but the physical process is still taking place. there is a transfer of information stamped forever.
We found a technology that replaces third parties like lawyers, Banks, Solicitors, e.t.c.

Cryptocurrency can also be described as an unregulated currency used to trade for profits.
Cryptocurrency are incredibly popular these days and this currency appeals to people for different reasons.

WHY CRYPTOCURRENCY ?
Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin are seen as the currency of the future. People are racing to buy and keep them now, presumably, because they’ll be more valuable in the future.

There are people who like the fact that Cryptocurrency removes the government and banks from managing the money supply, because for years these banks tend to reduce the value of money via inflation.
As a result of the constant rise in the value of Cryptocurrencies, there are people who like this currency because of the immediate ROI (return on investment) they can get from it.
You don't have to deal with the paperworks required in opening an account.
International transfers are faster.
No limits on withdrawal. You can withdraw all the coins you have at once.
Also, one of the appeal of cryptocurrency is because of the technology behind it, the Blockchain technology.
It's a decentralized processing and recording system and can be more secure than traditional payment systems.

MARKET CAPITALIZATION

According to
CoinMarketCap.com
(a market research website) over 6700 different Cryptocurrencies are traded publicly.
The total value of all Cryptocurrencies by Market Capitalization as at April 2021 was estimated at over $2.2 Trillion and the most popular Cryptocurrency Bitcoin was pegged at $1.2 Trillion.

The Top 3 Largest trading
Cryptocurrencies by market capitalization are Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin (BNB).

Market Capitalization is the total value of all coins that have been mined. It’s calculated by multiplying the number of coins in circulation by the current market price of a single coin. For example, if the total number of all the available mined coins in circulation is 5000 and the price of a single coin $1 (#5000) the market capitalization will be 5000 × 1 = $5000
In calculating Market Capitalization of Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, you might see references to 'Circulating Supply' Market Cap or 'Fully Diluted' Market Cap, those two numbers are relevant.
The current number of mined Bitcoin in circulation is 18.5 million, this is the 'Circulating Supply' but the total number of bitcoin that will be mined eventually is 21 million (after this number, no more bitcoin will be produced) and Market Capitalization can be calculated based on these numbers.
The market Capitalization for the different Cryptocurrencies varies. For example if Cryptocurrency A has 3000 coins in circulation and the value of 1 coin is $1, the market Capitalization for Coin A is 3000×1 = $3000.
If CoinB has 1000 coins in circulation and the value of one coin is $2, the market Capitalization for CoinB is =1000×2= $2000.
Although the value of CoinB is higher than CoinA, the Market Capitalization for A is higher than CoinB.

CRYPTOCURRENCY AS INVESTMENT OPTION
Cryptocurrency is an incredibly speculative and volatile currency. Stock trading of established companies is generally less risky than investing in Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Despite the increasing value of Cryptocurrencies, some investors still see Cryptocurrency as mere speculation and not real investment. Some have likened its volatile nature to a ponzi scheme and this is because just like real currencies, Cryptocurrency generates no cash flow. For you to make profits, someone has to pay more for the currency than you did. This is in contrast to a well managed business which value increases overtime by growing the profitability and the cash flow of its operations.

Warren Buffett, an American investor, business tycoon and the Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway; He is considered one of the most successful investors in the world. He had this to say about Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is a very effective way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A cheque is also a way of transmitting money too. Are Cheques worth a whole lot of money just because they can transmit money?

On the other hand, there are influential voices like Elon Musk that have come out publicly to call Cryptocurrency the currency of the future.

Cryptocurrency exposes you to the risk of theft as hackers will try to penetrate the computer networks of organizations that maintain your asset.

In 2014, a high profile Cryptocurrency exchange declared bankruptcy after hackers stole Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Bitcoins.
Mt Gox was a bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo, Japan. It was launched in July 2010. by July 2013, it was handling 70% of all Bitcoin transactions worldwide as the largest Bitcoin intermediary and the world's leading Bitcoin exchange. In February 2014, Mt Gox suspended trading, closed its website and exchange service and filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors. In April 2014, the company began liquidation proceedings; they announced that approximately 850,000 Bitcoins belonging to customers and the company were missing and likely stolen; an amount valued at $450 million at the time. A hacker allegedly used credentials from Mt Gox auditor's compromised computer to transfer a large number of bitcoin illegally to himself.

BITCOIN AS FIAT

There have been arguments against the assertion that "Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are the currency of the future".
It has been pointed out by critics that a currency needs stability so that merchants and consumers can determine what is a 'fair Price' for goods.
Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies have been anything but stable through much of their history. For example, Bitcoin traded at almost $20,000 in December 2017, its value then plummeted for as low as $3,200 in 2018. By December 2020, it was trading at a record high.
The price volatility creates a problem. If Bitcoin might be worth a lot more in the future, people are less likely to spend and circulate them today, making them less viable as a currency. For instance, over $17 million bitcoin has been mined but the number of bitcoin in circulation is less than $4 million.

LEGALITY OF CRYPTOCURRENCY

The Legality Of Cryptocurrency depends on the laws of different countries. Cryptocurrency is legal in the United States of America.
In China, the Government has banned their use.
Nigeria has one of the second largest Bitcoin markets in the world with over $500 million worth of Bitcoin traded over the last 5 years. In Nigeria, the Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a directive to all commercial banks on the 12th of January,2017 forbidding them from using, holding, trading or transacting in Cryptocurrency. On the 5th of February2021, the Government issued another directive to banks prohibiting them from dealing in Cryptocurrencies or facilitating payment exchange. Banks were asked to identify trading platforms and individuals through their bank accounts and block those accounts. This has prompted traders and investors in Nigeria to use Peer to Peer Network.

CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING PLATFORMS IN NIGERIA
Luno
Quidax
Binance
Bitstamp
CEO.IO
HitBTC e.t.c

INITIAL COIN OFFER

If you’re looking to buy Cryptocurrency in an ICO (Initial Coin Offer) read the company’s prospectus for information. Look out for informations like
1) What is the product?
2) What problem is it solving
3) Who owns the company?

4) Are they well-known investors, 5) who are investing in it ?
6) Will you own a stake in the company or just currency or tokens? Owning a stake means you get to participate in its earnings (you’re a part owner) while buying tokens means you’re entitled to use them.
7) Is the currency already developed or is the company looking to raise money to develop it? This doesn’t necessarily mean the currency will succeed.
8) Does it look like they have a good marketing team?

ICO is the stocks version of IPO (Initial Public Offer) When a company launches on the stock market, it has an IPO where people can buy shares in theory a little cheaper than where they think the business is going to go. In Cryptocurrency world, ICO is where they basically promise you that if you buy a coin at a particular price, they're going to be worth a certain amount because their business is going to do well. They make promises.

There are over 4000 Cryptocurrencies in the world as of 2021, a severe increase from just a handful of digital coins in 2013. A large portion of these coins are not significant. The creation process of cryptocurrency is open; it's relatively easy to create.

ALTCOIN

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and has been around the longest.
There is something known as ALTCOIN. It basically means Alternative Coins; any coin other than Bitcoin is known as an ALTCOIN.

TOP 10 CRYPTOCURRENCIES BY MARKET CAPITALIZATION

These are the top 10 largest trading Cryptocurrencies by Market capitalization according to CoinMarketCap.com (as of April 2021)

Crypto MarketCapitalization
Bitcoin $1.2 Trillion
Ethereum $263.4 Billion
Binance Coin $87 Billion
XRP $81.8 Billion
Tether $45.4 Billion
Cardano $44.7 Billion
Polkadot $39.3 Billion
Uni swap $18.8 Billion
Litecoin $18.1 Billion
Stellar $14.9 Billion

Lawyer, Writer, Blockchain & AI enthusiast. I write on personal finance, decentralized finance, grief, survival, trauma, life, and love #Storyteller #poet